Tragedy, comedy, irony, post-irony, paint-by-numbers Hollywood, post-celebrity, lurid, ascetic, penis, vagina, bull shark, tiger shark. Shark Night 3D is all of these.
Shark Night 3D is directed by David Ellis, who brought us the movie-meme Snakes On A Plane. Ellis originally wanted to call this film Untitled 3D Shark Thriller, a formal acknowledgment of the film's lowbrow high concept, until studio politics intervened.
This anecdote makes reviewing Shark Night 3D somewhat difficult. For example, was this quote a pomo critique of Hollywood's usual August effluvium? Or was it preemptive critical jiujitsu that prompted Ellis to acknowledge he's making a potboiler?
Is it worthwhile making a value judgment when the art bellows "I'M TOTAL CRAP?" When the black guy's bitten first and the dog survives, when does satire become intellectual laziness (or vice versa)? Is this the first film to ever showcase a fistfight with a hammerhead shark?
I could devote a small novella to the narrative intricacies of Shark Night 3D, but I have deadlines and a caffeine headache. What I will say is that Shark Night 3D is a creature feature whose 3D only seems to work when the camera settles on coeds' yoga-pantsed fannies. This movie is a roiling maelstrom of dumb-as-balls.
In a nutshell, Shark Night 3D is Jaws for the Saw generation — Saws! — with a not unsubstantial plot point cribbed from Videodrome. A group of Tulane stock hardbodies (such as the Virginal Bookworm Hero, the male doppelgänger of Rachael Leigh Cook in She's All That) go up to The Rich Blonde's saltwater bayou estate for some boozy good times.
But when Bootstrap-Yanking NFL Draft Pick's arm is gobbled off by a bull shark while wakeboarding, characters like Narcissistic Nude Model and The Nerdy Guy From Avatar come to a frightening realization. The Rich Blonde's island mansion is surrounded by forty-something species of sharks — bull, hammerhead, cookiecutter — whose thirst for panicked horndog stops only at land and a namby pamby PG-13 rating.